FIFA World Cup

Sepp Blatter Comments on 2022 Qatar World Cup Vote-Fixing Allegations and More

FILE - In this Dec. 21, 2015 file photo, FIFA President Sepp Blatter arrives for a news conference in Zurich, Switzerland, after he was banned for 8 years from all football-related activities over a $2 million payment by FIFA to Michel Platini, the president of European soccer's ruling body UEFA. 2015 was the year when scandals off the field of play eclipsed exploits on it. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File)
Matthias Schrader/Associated Press
Christopher SimpsonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2016

Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter has defended the vote for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, saying, "You cannot buy a World Cup." Further, he protested his own innocence, claiming, "I was even treating well all my ex-girlfriends," and suggested they are among his defenders.

In an interview with Martyn Ziegler of the Times (h/t BBC Sport), Blatter claimed former President of France Nicolas Sarkozy requested that former UEFA President Michel Platini vote for a country other than the USA—which Platini denied in a Guardian interview—to host the showpiece:

You cannot buy a World Cup; it will go at the end where the higher political influences are.

For 2022, Platini at least had the courtesy to phone me and say, 'now we have had a meeting with the head of state and if the head of state is asking me to support France for different reasons then I will.' He said 'my vote will not be for the Americans.'

I knew then there would be a problem. We tried but it was too late.

Blatter, 79, is serving an eight-year suspension from football activity following an investigation by FIFA's ethics committee into a payment he made to Platini.

Platini has also denied any wrongdoing amid the allegations.
Platini has also denied any wrongdoing amid the allegations.MICHAEL BUHOLZER/Getty Images

Per BBC's report, Blatter is appealing the corruption allegations against him, but the ethics committee are "hoping to increase his punishment to a lifetime ban." 

Blatter denied any wrongdoing, saying, "I am sure there is justice in this world and that I have committed nothing which goes to criminal law."

He added: "I have killed nobody, I have not robbed a bank, I have not taken any money from anywhere and I was even treating well all my ex-girlfriends. It's true. They defend me. One I was married to only for a few months and she is really defending me."

FIFA will be holding elections to replace the Swiss administrator with a new president on February 26. According to the Economist, Blatter's successor will inherit a difficult situation requiring "radical reform," with British diplomat Jon Benjamin sharing one such issue that will need addressing:

Blatter began working at FIFA in 1975 and from 1998 until 2015 was president of the organisation, winning his fifth consecutive election in May last year.

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